2 February 2010......today is the World Wetlands Day for 2010......a day that give tributes to wetlands around the world......It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
We, here in Malaysia, have several wetlands that being chosed as Ramsar Sites such as Tasik Bera in Pahang, Pulau Kukup in Johor and Tanjung Piai, also in Johor. The rest of the sites are as follows:
The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Malaysia on 10 March 1995. Malaysia presently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 134,158 hectares.
Kuching Wetlands National Park. 08/11/05; Sarawak; 6,610 ha; 01°41'N 110°14'E. National Park. A saline mangrove system with flora comprising predominantly the genera Rhizophora, Avicennia and Sonneratia. The site harbours such noteworthy species as Estuarine Crocodile Crocodylus porosus, Proboscis Monkey Nasalis larvatus (endemic to Borneo and listed as 'Endangered', IUCN Red List), Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus ('Vulnerable'), and Griffith's Silver Leaf Monkey Trachypithecus villosus. The site has value as a breeding and nursery ground for fish and prawn species - 43 families of fishes and 11 species of prawns have been recorded, many of which are commercially important. Its proximity to the city of Kuching, the Damai resort complex, and two other national parks renders it of high potential value for tourism, education and recreation. The area is historically important: there was a Chinese settlement there probably as early as the 1st century AD, and early Malay, Hindu and Buddhist relics from the 9th century AD have been excavated at Santubong Village. The discovery of gold made the area an important trading and iron mining centre from the 7th to 13th centuries; some enigmatic rock carvings of human figures remain from this period. In the 15th century, Santubong was the site of the original Brunei Malay capital of Sarawak. Ramsar site no. 1568. Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands. 28/10/08; Sabah; 78,803 ha; 05°38’N 118°35’E. Forest Reserves. A natural coastal mangrove, brackish and peat swamp forest systems on the east coast of Sabah, fed by two large rivers, the Kinabatangan and Segama rivers, as well as other small rivers ones. The wide mangrove belts are the largest contiguous mangrove area in the Southern Sulu sea. The site harbours rich biodiversity with critically endangered, vulnerable, rare and endangered species, including the world’s smallest elephant, as well as species endemic to Borneo such as Sumatran Rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrisoni, Proboscis Monkey Nasalislarvatus, Tembadau (Banteng) Bos javanicus, Orang utan Pongo abelli, Borneo Pygmy Elephant Elephas maximus borneensis, among many others. Tropical swamp forests in Kulamba Wildlife Reserve play an important role in carbon sequestration and in settling the sediment and organic loads of the rivers. The Sabah Shoreline Management Plan (2005) includes an effective management strategy for the site. A management plan is in development. Ramsar site no. 1849. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Pulau Kukup.31/01/03; Johor; 647 ha; 01°19'N 103°25'E. State Park. Uninhabited mangrove island located 1 km from the southwestern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, one of the few intact sites of this type left in southeast Asia. The wetland supports such species as the Flying Fox Pteropus vampyrus, Smooth Otter Lutra perspicillata, Bearded Pig Sus barbatus, Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis, all listed as threatened, vulnerable or near-threatened under the IUCN Red Book. Pulau Kukup has been identified as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) for Malaysia. Globally vulnerable Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus chooses this as a stop-over and breeding ground. Pulau Kukup is important for flood control, physical protection (e.g. as a wind-breaker), and shoreline stabilization as it shelters the mainland town from severe storm events. The coastal straits between Pulau Kukup and the mainland are a thriving industry for marine cage culture. The mudflats are rich with shellfish and provide food and income to local people. Tourism is another use of the island and the government has further plans to promote ecotourism. Ramsar site no. 1287. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Sungai Pulai.31/01/03; Johor; 9,126 ha; 01°23'N 103°32'E. Forest Reserve. The largest riverine mangrove system in Johor State, located at the estuary of the Sungai Pulai river. With its associated seagrass beds, intertidal mudflats and inland freshwater riverine forest the site represents one of the best examples of a lowland tropical river basin, supporting a rich biodiversity dependent on mangrove. It is home for the rare and endemic small tree Avicennia lanata, animals such as near-threatened and vulnerable Long-tailed Macaque, Smooth Otter and rare Flat-headed Cat and threatened birds species as Mangrove Pitta and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, all included in the IUCN Red List. Relatively undisturbed parts including the Nipah swamps may be nesting sites of the Estuarine Crocodile. The site fringes play a significant role in shoreline stabilization and severe flood prevention in the adjacent 38 villages. The local population depends on the estuary as its mudflats, an ideal feeding, spawning and fattening ground, support a significant proportion of fish species. Other mangrove uses include wood cutting, charcoal production, aquaculture activities and eco-tourism. The current construction of a new port at the river estuary may represent a direct impact on the mangrove ecosystem, causing coastal erosion and water pollution from associated dredging and reclamation works and traffic. The site is managed in line with Integrated Management Plan for the sustainable use of mangroves in Johor state. Ramsar site no. 1288. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Tanjung Piai. 31/01/03; Johor; 526 ha; 01°16'N 103°31'E. State Park. The site consists of coastal mangroves and intertidal mudflats located at the southernmost tip of continental Asia, especially important for protection from sea-water intrusion and coastal erosion. Tanjung Piai supports many threatened and vulnerable wetland-dependent species such as Pig-tailed Macaque and Long-tailed Macaque, birds like Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler. Globally vulnerable Lesser Adjutant may be observed in the vicinity of the site. The Scaly Anteater, Common Porcupine, Smooth Otter and Bearded Pig are classified as vulnerable or near threatened listed in the IUCN Red Book 2000. Waters of the four main rivers traversing Tanjung Piai are abundant with commercially valuable species. The site enjoys the status of a State Park for eco-tourism -- a visitor centre with boardwalks near the southern tip of the park provides interpretive materials, guided walks, and overnight facilities, with a World Wetlands Day programme beginning in 2003. Due to increased sea traffic, the western side of Tanjung Piai has been affected by oil spills which caused natural erosion processes in nearly 70 ha of the mangrove forest. In addition, the new port being established in the estuary of Sungai Pulai will likely lead to increased wave energy reaching the east shore of Tanjung Piai, thus accelerating coastal erosion. Ramsar site no. 1289. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Tasek Bera.10/11/94; Pahang; 38,446 ha; 02º58’N 102º36’E. Forest Reserve; State Reserve for Conservation. An excellent example of a "blackwater" ecosystem which includes open water, a reed swamp area, and swamp forest with grasslands on the periphery. The site supports high species diversity, including 328 species of algae, 19 aquatic plants, 64 zooplankton, an abundance of aquatic insects, shrimp, crab and 95 species of fish (most indigenous, and including the endangered Asian Bonytongue or Arowana). All amphibians and reptiles of Malaysian tropical swamps are represented as well as 119 bird species, of which two, Masked Finfoot and Crested Fireback, are threatened. Indigenous people inhabit the area and depend on its natural resources, the fishery in particular, for their livelihood. Ecotourism is promoted. Other site uses include conservation education and scientific research. Ramsar site no. 712. Most recent RIS information: 1998.